Hurricane Marty nears the tip of Baja California fishing areas

Mexico Fishing News, September 22, 2003



SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Fishing in southern Baja was again knocked out by wind and rain over the weekend as Hurricane Marty approached the coast. On Sunday evening, the eye of the storm was located about 120 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, moving northward at about 6 knots. It was forecast to make landfall with torrential rain and winds over 80 m.p.h. near Magdalena Bay on Monday.

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO: Just before contact was lost on Sunday afternoon, Eric Brictson of Gordo Banks Pangas said, "We are about to loose power and telephone service again. The Playita road is again a washout. This has been one very wet September."

Hurricane Marty is the second hurricane of the season. It follows closely on the heels of several tropical storms, during a period of intermittent rough weather begun by Hurricane Ignacio, which swept up the Sea of Cortez in the last week of August.

Brictson reported that the hurricane's approach had nipped an improving bite in the bud, as water conditions had been slowly improving after the last tropical storm: "There was good variety. Prospects were looking good, as more bait fish were found on the offshore fishing grounds. Yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dorado, pargo, and marlin were all being caught."

The tuna were mostly 15 to 25 pounds, Brictson said, and the wahoo action included some schooling fish seen by divers on the Gordo Banks. But, said Brictson, "All we can do now is wait for the weather to clear. We are all anxious to get back to work."

In other mainland Mexico and Baja fishing action this week:



ENSENADA, MEXICO: Sergio Susarrey of Sergio's Sportfishing Center reported on 116 anglers with a catch of: 174 yellowtail, 166 yellowfin tuna, 13 dorado, 603 skipjack, and 9 albacore.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Ivan Villarino of Vonny's Fleet said pangas fishing the tip of Punta Banda did well on lingcod, barracuda, and bonita. Alfredo Astroga and his fishing partner caught limits on the panga Vonny III with Capt. Cruz Zamora. Punta Banda water temperatures were 64 to 65 degrees.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Werner Hradecky of San Diego reported on 2 trips out of San Diego, fishing on the Scott's Johnny. At midweek, Hradecky and four guests were skippered by Mike Bratton for 15 yellowfin tuna to 20 pounds and a dorado. Two days earlier, the Scott's Johnny fished west of the 302 bank in 71.5-degree water for a catch including yellowfin tuna and an 18-pound dorado.

ENSENADA, MEXICO: Earlier, Steve Ross of the Pescadores de Ensenada reported limits of yellowfin tuna, plus albacore over 30 pounds, caught by club boat Blackbeard, 50 miles west of Marina Coral. Los Pangueros caught skipjack and yellowtail, and Bad Dog reported 1 yellowtail and lots of skipjack on the Peanut Bank, in cobalt blue, 70-degree water. Ross said club boat Shanna Marie also broke off an estimated 80-pound albacore at the boat, in 70-degree water, at the double 220 bank. The fish was fought for half-an-hour on light tackle and broke off just out of gaff range, Ross said.



SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Amy Ferreira of Don Eddie's Landing said yellowfin tuna catches slowed over the weekend, but some good catches were still being made on fish of 18 to 24 pounds. Limits and near-limits of yellowtail were caught close to the point over the weekend, and bottom fishing limits continued for many boats on red rockfish, whitefish, and large lingcod to 20 pounds. Top catches included white sea bass of 38 and 46 pounds, caught near El Socorro. San Quintin weather was in the mid-70s, with sunny skies and calm seas.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: At Pedro's Pangas, Pete Hillis said he had 22 boats fishing during the week, and the Old Mill Hotel had another 6. Moderate winds earlier in the week kept boats fishing close, but by Sunday they were going 12 to 20 miles out again for yellowfin tuna. Two-day limits of yellowtail to 25 pounds, sandbass, calico bass, and white seabass to 23 pounds were caught by Brian Bunting and his friend Gerry Julian from Montana. A 25-angler group brought by Todd Pipe & Supply of West Los Angeles fished 2 days at Ben's Rock, the 240, 6, and 25 Spots, for good catches of yellowtail, large bonita and barracuda, and sandbass, topped by a 23-pound yellowtail caught by Tom Snyder, Hillis said.

SAN QUINTIN, MEXICO: Bob Selvin of Los Angeles reported on an excellent 5-day trip to Isla Guadalupe and the Sacramento Reef aboard the Pacific Quest out of Fisherman's Landing, returning to San Diego on Sept. 19: "Bill Fisher and Greg Carr were also on board along with my fellow Los Angeles Rod & Reel Club member Jack Graham, and John Turner of Mondo swim baits.

"The day before we left, the water temp dropped, and by the time we got down to the area, it was chilly and about 59 to 60 degrees. And WINDY!

"In the three days we fished, Capt. Greg Pregler said in 19 years of fishing he had never seen so much yellowtail in all his days on the water. We had a few foamers come up right near the boat, along with log barracuda as far as the eye could see. Big barracuda constantly took up our fishing time on the skiffs and on the big boat.

"Aside from the barracuda, we had some huge bonito in the 10 to 12-pound class, about 30 yellows in the 20-pound class, about 100 nice red snappers, many in the 5 to 7-pound class, 30 lingcod, and dozens of whitefish.

"The six of us caught around 120 calico bass, most on the second day when the water temp popped up a couple of degrees. There were a number of fish over 7 pounds and several over 8 pounds. Personally, I had a 10-pound 10-ounce and 9-pound fish on one skiff run.

"We put 5 of the biggest calicos in the Quest's bait tank. They were carefully weighed, photos and videos quickly shot, and released them just outside the boat slips into the bay. All except the 10-pound 10-ounce. He's at Lyons & O'Haver getting mounted and there's a spot on my wall for him."



MAGDALENA BAY, MEXICO: Gary Graham of Baja On The Fly said Hurricane Marty was being watched closely as it approached its predicted landfall somewhere near Magdalena Bay on Monday. Dorado were holding on shark buoys west of the entrada, Graham said, and yellowfin tuna were reported out near the Thetis Bank. Some marlin were seen in the area, and there were still some yellowtail under birds at the entrada. In the bay, corvina were caught near the pier and north at Devil's Curve, and halibut were on the flats at Punta Belcher. San Carlos weather on Saturday was in the mid-80s, with clear skies, calm winds, and water temperatures of 69 to 76 degrees.



CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Fishing action was hampered over the weekend as Hurricane Marty approached on its predicted path up the Pacific side and across the peninsula at Magdalena Bay.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Prior to the storm, Tommy Garcia of Cabo Magic reported on 49 boats with a catch including released fish of: 5 blue marlin, 1 striped marlin, 5 sailfish, 122 yellowfin tuna, 25 dorado, 5 wahoo, and 1 mako shark.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Picante Fleet reported on 5 late-week boats with a catch including released fish of: 4 blue marlin, 3 striped marlin, 21 yellowfin tuna, and 6 dorado.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters reported on 26 Gaviota Fleet boats with a catch including released fish of: 2 blue marlin, 5 sailfish, 6 striped marlin, 17 dorado, 3 wahoo, and 41 yellowfin tuna. Edwards said Gaviota Fleet had its best action on the Pacific side, from San Cristobal to the Jaime Bank.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Solmar Fleet reported on 98 boats with a catch including released fish of: 20 striped marlin, 5 blue marlin, 3 sailfish, 22 dorado, 35 yellowfin tuna, and 8 wahoo. Jose Luis Sánchez of Solmar Fleet called the fishing generally flat, but with some good catches including blue marlin of 450 and 300 pounds. Larry Edwards of Cortez Yacht Charters also reported a 750-pound blue marlin caught on the Solmar VI, on the Pacific side, with Capt. Julio, after a fight lasting 2 hours 45 minutes on 80-pound tackle.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: Mike Hebert of Reel Easy Sportfishing reported on 4 boats with a catch including released fish of: 1 blue marlin of 400 pounds, 2 striped marlin, and 21 yellowfin tuna.

CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO: At Pisces Fleet, Tracy Ehrenberg said boats had a catch including released fish of: 20 striped marlin, 10 sailfish, and 5 blue marlin. Forty-three percent of boats also caught dorado. Tracy called the week "fair, but with more boats than we'd like to see getting skunked." The catch rate for all species combined was 75 percent, as boats fished both the Pacific and Cortez sides. Cabo weather just prior to the arrival of the storm was hot and humid, with good sea conditions and water temperatures averaging 85 degrees.



EAST CAPE, MEXICO: As fleets waited for the predicted Pacific side passing of Hurricane Marty, Chris Moyers of East Cape Smoke House reported on 130 boats from combined fleets including the Van Wormer resorts of Palmas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Punta Colorada, with a catch including released fish of: 4 blue marlin, 18 striped marlin, 66 sailfish, 52 dorado, 297 yellowfin tuna, and 3 wahoo. East Cape weather prior to the storm was mostly calm, in the low-90s, with water temperatures of 83 to 88 degrees. Fishing overall was slightly slower, and was lead by continued catches of football tuna, with a few larger fish mixed in. Most boats were fishing straight out or south. The slow dorado action included a good proportion of solitary, larger fish of 30 to 50 pounds.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Buena Vista Beach Resort reported on 36 boats with a catch including released fish of: 5 blue marlin, 3 striped marlin, 25 sailfish, 24 dorado, 78 tuna, 1 wahoo, 28 bonita, 4 yellowtail, 1 pompano, and 58 skipjack. Hotel boats were fishing south off Cabo Pulmo and north off Punta Pescadero. The few dorado caught were mostly quality fish.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Rancho Buena Vista, Tami Muoyeos said 17 boats had a catch including released fish of: 1 striped marlin, 5 sailfish, 11 dorado, 148 tuna, and 2 wahoo.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: John Ireland of Rancho Leonero said: "Blue and striped marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, amberjack, and dorado are all biting aggressively." Ireland said all anglers limited on yellowfin tuna of 30 to a high of 100 pounds. Dorado to 55 pounds and amberjack to 80 pounds were also caught, Ireland said. The top fish of the week was a 500-pound blue marlin caught by Warren Spiegel of Daly City, CA.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Larry Miller of Perris, CA also reported a 60-pound wahoo caught out of Rancho Leonero.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: At Baja On The Fly, Gary Graham said inshore water was clearing, prior to the passing of Hurricane Marty, and "needlefish are thick and eating almost everything that hits the water." Beach fishing was still tough, with some roosterfish and jacks caught at Bartle Beach and Punta Arena. Graham said the forecast was for the storm not to have a big effect on East Cape fishing.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Vista Sea Sport's Mark Rayor said monster jewfish were spotted at Los Islotes and Las Casitas, and diving conditions at Cabo Pulmo were excellent. The large tiger shark was also seen again, and sea lions were feeding on bigeye jacks. Cabo Pulmo water temperatures averaged 86 degrees, with "gin clear" water, Rayor said.

EAST CAPE, MEXICO: Pepe Murrieta of Pepe's Dive Service said visibility was exceptional at over 100 feet, and sightings included jacks, tiger shark, whitetip shark, nurse shark, turtles, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and large groupers. Sea conditions were calm, with no current.



LA PAZ, MEXICO: Jonathan Roldan of Tail Hunter International said the better fishing was still on the La Paz side, but Las Arenas was showing definite improvement: "Most of the week it was a decent pick on dorado with some sails and even a few late season roosters, but late in the week, sardines were found and football tuna popped up!" Roldan said the tuna were 15 to 20 pounds.

On the La Paz side, dorado were consistent in mixed sizes, including some bulls to 40 pounds.

LA PAZ, MEXICO: At Tortuga Sportfishing, Gerardo Hernandez said sardina bait was again found on the Las Arenas side, just south of Ensenada de los Muertos. Pangas were catching dorado of 30 to 35 pounds, with a few at 40 pounds. No tuna were caught by his boats, Hernandez said, but he expected them to show up within a few days.



LORETO, MEXICO: Pam Bolles of Baja Big Fish Company said Loreto weather was super hot over the weekend, with high humidity and temperatures estimated at over 100 degrees. Skies were clear, and cumulonimbus clouds were billowing over the mountains and over the mainland across the Sea of Cortez. The dorado bite was slow, with mackerel and caballito scarce, making the traditional Loreto slow-troll with live bait difficult. Most dorado caught were singles, although one school was found under a floating dead moray eel, offshore at San Bruno.

Sailfish were also thinning out, and boats were concentrating on yellowtail to about 20 pounds, caught off a 250-foot bottom at Puerto Almejas and Punta Pulpito. Inshore fishing was generally slow in all locations fished.

LORETO, MEXICO: At Villas de Loreto, Juanita Raney reported that a group led by Irwin Gersh of Covina, CA did well on a 40-pound class cabrilla and lots of yellowtail.

LORETO, MEXICO: Gregorio Segoviano of the Carnaderos baitsellers cooperativa said up to 10 boats fished for bait for 5 nights last week, catching mostly jurelito. Friday night's work resulted in only 26 mackerel out of 250 bait fish caught. Water temperatures on the bait grounds were 83.5 degrees at night, and up to 85.5 degrees during the day.



MULEGE, MEXICO: Fly-in angler Ron Grant of Crestline, CA said earlier passing storms brought heavy rain and wind to the area, and fishing was "really slow." During 5 days of fishing, a few dorado were caught on blind strikes with feathers, and no weed lines were found. Some boats caught dorado between Islas San Marcos and Tortuga, and some limits of cabrilla were reported at Tortuga. The San Bruno squid pangas were cleaning squid on the way in and catching bonita, skipjack, and a few dorado. Only 1 or 2 sport boats were fishing per day.

MULEGE, MEXICO: Diana Johnson of the Hotel Serenidad said commercial boats were still catching prohibited dorado and sailfish in Mulege waters. Fishing was slow, and few visitors were in town.



SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: Bob Castellon of Sea of Cortez Sportfishing said his panga mothership Celia Angelina returned to San Felipe with a catch of: 285 yellowtail, 12 dorado, 110 cabrilla, 2 squid to 57 pounds, 2 white seabass, 15 pargo, and 186 miscellaneous fish. One grouper was released. Castellon said he is doing well and feeling much better after having some benign polyps removed from his stomach, and he is looking forward to being on the Celia Angelina's last 3 trips of the season. He said that he's also planning a full season next year.

SAN FELIPE, MEXICO: At San Felipe, Catalina Meders of the Title Company Bookstore overlooking the bay said she and husband Ed have opened the store for the season and "many people were almost hysterical with delight." The winter snowbirds were already arriving, Meders said. Highway 5, from San Felipe to Mexicali, was briefly blocked by angry commercial fishermen, she said, who were protesting a lack of permits, presumably for shrimp fishing inside the Alto Golfo Biosphere Reserve.



MAZATLAN, MEXICO: Tadeo Hernández Kelly of Flota Bibi Fleet said 4 offshore boats had a catch including released fish of: 3 sailfish, and 8 bonita and skipjack. "It has rained almost every night, but the waters have been smooth," Hernández said. Mazatlan weather was cloudy in the low-80s, with 74 percent humidity.



IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO, MEXICO: Local guide Ed Kunze reported wind and 6 inches of rain in a 48-hour period. "Conditions have been just too miserable to fish," Kunze said. The excellent inshore action on roosterfish and jacks was expected to be shut down for a few weeks, but Kunze said offshore dorado counts should be good around the tonnage of trees, plants, coconuts, and other debris being washed out to sea. Zihuatanejo weather was in the high-80s, with water temperatures of 75 to 90 degrees.

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HURRICANE MARTY--The predicted path of Hurricane Marty as it approached the west coast of Baja on Sunday. Photos courtesy National Weather Service.

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GOOD TUNA DAY--Ben Coffman fished with Mike Bratton, Werner Hradecky and guests on the Scott's Johnny out of San Diego for 15 yellowfin tuna and this nice dorado. Photo courtesy Werner Hradecky.

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PUNTA BANDA CATCH--Alfredo Astorga and his fishing partner caught limits of lingcod, barracuda, and bonita at Ensenada last week with the Vonny's Fleet panga, Vonny III and Capt. Beto Zamora. Photo courtesy Ivan Villarino.

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LEONERO WAHOO--Larry Miller of Perris, CA caught a nice wahoo last week out of East Cape's Rancho Leonero. Photo courtesy Larry Miller.

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LOS CABOS TUNA--Dayle Makishima and Barry Stark teamed together to catch this 55-pound yellowfin tuna off Los Cabos, aboard the Mouse Trap with Capt. Larry, shown holding the fish. Photo courtesy Don Bridgeman.

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SELLING FISH--The Carnaderos baitsellers cooperativa of Loreto with a mixed catch of fish for sale last week. Fishing for mackerel live bait to sell has been slow. Photo courtesy El Cheyo.

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HURRICANE DEBRIS?--Fred Green of East Cape sent this "no bull" photo taken recently, possibly of a cow washed into the sea by recent Hurricane Ignacio. "The free range cows in Baja have adapted very well," Green said. "The dolphins have taught them how to jump." Photo courtesy Fred Green.

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